Monthly Archives: August 2013

  1. Danish West Indies




    The opening of the Panama Canal proved the military dictum that by expanding your borders you need to further expand your area of influence in order to defend those new borders. Before the canal, ocean traffic between the east and west coasts of the United States was either by ship (unloading at either Panama or Nicaragua and reloading the ship on the other side) or else around the tip of South America, a multi thousand mile journey that was dangerous even in the early twentieth century. The canal had been a dream for centuries and had been attemp
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  2. Interesting and Affordable Specialties


    Glamor and money often go hand and hand in philately. Certainly the recent $2 million plus that a Hawaii cover sold for is impressive. Who doesn't wish that they could own a piece like that? Yet countries that have great rarities as part of their main collecting body often face a drop off in terms of popularity. Many collectors want to collect an area that they can complete and which is interesting and affordable. I have a few for you.

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  3. Postal Stationery

    Little realized by philatelists now is the fact that postal stationery was intended, by the originators of postage stamps and the early postal agencies, to rival stamps in use. Post Offfices around the world liked postal stationery because the sizes of the envelopes issued were uniform and thus facilitated handling. Most countries so wanted to encourage use of postal stationery in the nineteenth century that there was no surcharge for the envelope plus the stamp. This represented a considerable savings to postal users as envelopes were costly and stationery provide a complete mailing package for the price of a stamp.

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  4. Is Stamp Collecting Gaining Popularity?

    The question of the popularity of philately has been one that every generation of collectors has asked. In the 1970s, the USPS and Linn
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  5. Immigration and Stamp Collecting


    There have long been discussions among serious stamp collectors over how to best grow our hobby, and the discussion has usually tended to be dominated by those who favor outreach. They believe that a love of the hobby is learned, and by exposing school students and relatives to the pleasures of stamp collecting we plant the seeds of the next generation of avid collectors. This approach is certainly intuitive. How can anyone catch philatelic fever if they haven't been exposed to the virus? But the outreach approach has been tried on a broad basis twice in philatelic history, and the results have been mixed at best.

    In the 1930s Captain Tim sent out millions of stamp albums to kids and had a weekly radio show. Certainly many child collectors entered the
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  6. Over 1000 Posts

    Apfelbaum's corner has just reached its thousandth posting. All in all, there are nearly 500,000 words on all topics philatelic. The average novel is about 65,000 words; so this would make this series of articles some eight volumes in length. All the articles are different, and most are about philatelic issues and history that have no timeliness factor and so can be reread after they were originally posted, and the reader can get as much out of them as if they were reading them the day they were written. If you like these articles, go back and read some of the older ones when you have a chance. I think you will like them too.
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  7. Civil War Philately


    It is hard to overstate the importance of the Civil War
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  8. French Colonies


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  9. The Apfelbaum Stamp Store

    Earl Apfelbaum opened his first stamp store on the Tuesday after Labor Day in 1930. Earl had been a part time dealer, and when his first business, in the clothing trade, failed at the beginning of the Great Depression, he and his father Maurice pooled their resources, their philatelic inventory, and their knowledge and opened a 250 square foot retail store at a first floor location on 9th St. in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market area. At first, Earl had his stamp albums which customers perused and picked out what they needed
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  10. Stamp Circuits


    Stamp Circuits were once one of the most popular methods of sale. They began in the late nineteenth century largely as part of club meetings. You see old circuit pages and even circuit books on French and English printed pages going back as early as about 1880. Collectors would hinge duplicates t
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  11. Plate Blocks


    One of the most idiosyncratic aspects of US philately is the collecting of plate blocks. Many countries have marginal plate numbers in the selvages of the sheets of their printed stamps. Most United States stamps that were printed before 1894 had plate numbers in the selvage, put there by the private printing contractor who printed the stamps so that they could keep track of things like plate wear or damage and remake the plates when they were needed. But plate blocks, as American collectors understand the term today, were really a phenomenon that began in th
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  12. Stamp Journals and the Direction of the Hobby

    One of the great changes in our modern world has been the decline of specialty periodical publishing. In philately, the result has been very dramatic. Thirst years ago, the top ten stamp journals in the United States had nearly half a million subscribers. Today the top three (and because of the Internet there are only three left) are less than 75,000.

    The three that remain serve different niches and even in their restricted formats, these magazines are threatened. Linns Stamp News is a weekly, and the American Philatelist and the American Stamp Dealer and Collector are monthlies. Linns has been around nearly 100 years. It is published weekly and in the days before EBAY and the Internet, it was an ad rag, often boasting hundreds of pages of advertising price lists around a core of news that seemed there mainly to meet postal regulations to qualify for the preferred second class newspaper postage rate. In my first year out of school (1975) Linns had a subscriber base

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